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Smyth Research Realiser A16

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by jgazal, May 7, 2016.
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  1. Fox1977
    I can imagine Smyth Research may wait to see if there is a real demand before producing a second batch of A16... I suppose relaunching production lines have a cost, so they may open preorders and if they get enough orders they could launch the second run.
    But this is pure speculation, i have no idea how it is gonna be... For now, i'm simply waiting for my unit and i seem to notice a little light at the end of the tunnel...
  2. Dixter
    I have a feeling the A16 will become a Family heirloom.. enjoyed for a few generations down the line :)
    sphynxxx likes this.
  3. Chillzone21
    Yeah it is very much a niche product, although such amazing technology. Waiting for a major manufacturer like Sony or Samsung to produce a cheap product that does 90% of the Realiser.
  4. jgazal

  5. dsperber
    For me, the deferred availability initially of built-in decoding capability for DTS is of no concern, as I had never intended to utilize any of the A16's built-in codecs anyway since I have the luxury of Oppo players to feed my Realisers.

    Same as with my two current A8 setups which are fed already-decoded discrete multi-channel LPCM via audio-only HDMI2 output from an Oppo player (either BDP-103 or UDP-203), I will simply be doing exactly the same thing with the upcoming A16. I will at least for the foreseeable future continue to use in the A16 my existing A8 AIX-room 5.1 and 7.1 PRIR's, with no Dolby Atmos to be concerned about for the time being anyway. So there's no pro or con in simply continuing to let my Oppo players do all of my audio decoding and provide LPCM over HDMI to the A8/A16 for "conventional" Dolby and DTS lossy and lossless 5.1/7.1 audio sources.
    sphynxxx likes this.
  6. Chillzone21
    Will you sell the old A8's or keep them?
  7. dsperber
    I have two fully outfitted TV viewing/listening locations, currently each supported by an A8 and Stax headphone/amp and external DAC, and each fed from an Oppo player. But one A8 is an analog-only unit, the famous #0001. This is the one which will be replaced by the A16 strictly for its HDMI-input, but #0001 shall not be parted with no matter what. It's museum-worthy.

    And the second HDMI-enabled A8 will naturally be retained to support its own TV location. No functional need to replace it with an A16, at least not without obtaining a superb Atmos PRIR as motivation. With 5.1/7.1 source and an Oppo player to do the decoding and provide LPCM through HDMI-input , the A8 is perfectly fine.
    sphynxxx likes this.
  8. Eich1eeF
    There have been a few mentions of the Smyth Realisers in the german audio and computer press in recent months. Just two sentences referring to the A16 in the well-respected computer magazine c't https://www.heise.de/select/ct/2019/03/1548675641027485 (just use google translate)

    A full paragraph in "Stereoplay" 01/19:

    Der zweite Nachteil ist, dass die aufgenommene Szene völlig statisch ist. Bewegt man beim Abhören den Kopf, bewegt sich der Raum gewissermaßen mit. Ein Blick in Richtung Schallquelle ist also nicht möglich. Aber auch dafür gibt es einen Lösungsansatz. Spezielle Kopfhörersysteme wie der Smyth Realiser können die Kopfbewegungen erfassen und steuern die Wiedergabe entsprechend nach, der Raum bleibt absolut stabil. Dem Vormarsch der Binauraltechnik steht also nichts mehr im Weg.

    The second drawback is that the recorded scene is completely static. If you move your head while listening, the room moves with you. Therefore it is not possible to look at a sound source. But there is also a solution for this. Special headphone systems like the Smyth Realiser can detect the head movements and control the playback accordingly, the room remains absolutely stable. Hence there are no obstacles to the advance of binaural technology.​

    and a full column on the A8 in audiovision 02/19 (probably based on their old review of the all analog A8)

    Die wirkungsvollste, aber auch teuerste Variante, Raumklang über alle erdenklichen Kopfhörer zu erzeugen, sind aus der Studiotechnik stammende Kopfhörer-Prozessoren wie der Smyth Realiser A8. Dieser kostet 3.300 Euro (ohne Kopfhörer) und simuliert akustische Umgebungen wie etwa ein 5.1- oder 7.1-Heimkino perfekt. Der A8 (die Acht steht für die Anzahl frei definierbarer Kanäle) setzt die typische Kopfortung außer Kraft – man glaubt, in einem echten Raum zu sitzen, und vergisst, etwas auf dem Schädel zu tragen. Möglich wird das durch das SVS-Signalverarbeitungsverfahren (Smyth Virtual Surround), das virtuell die Grenzen von Räumen sprengt. Sprich: Man kann bauliche Einschränkungen wie schlechte akustische Bedingungen umgehen und Lautsprecher wie in einem echten Raum beliebig platzieren und experimentieren. Natürlich kann man auch echte Räume vermessen (etwa das eigene Heimkino) und dessen liebgewonnenen Sound anschließend speichern und per Kopfhörer beim neuesten Blockbuster genießen. Einfacher Stereo-Betrieb ist ebenfalls möglich. Für optimale Ergebnisse befinden sich zwei sehr empfindliche Ohrmessmikrofone im Lieferumfang, die ins Ohr gestöpselt werden. Mithilfe dieser Mikrofone wird zunächst die Basislautstärke der einzelnen Kanäle festgelegt, anschließend wird der virtuelle Raum durch die Blickrichtung zum jeweiligen Lautsprecher vermessen. Das ist wichtig für das mitgelieferte Head-Tracking-System, das Kopfbewegungen nachvollziehen kann. Dadurch verändert sich das Klangbild realistisch wie bei Bewegungen in einem echten Raum. So macht Heimkino auch zu später Stunde noch Spaß, wenn der Rest der Welt längst schläft. Der A8 wird gern in Kombination mit elektrostatischen Kopfhörern der Firma Stax und entsprechenden Verstärkern angeboten, womit wir zum nächsten Punkt kommen: zu verschiedenen Schallwandlertechniken bei Kopfhörern.

    The most effective, but also the most expensive, way to create surround sound using arbitrary headphones are professional headphone processors such as the Smyth Realiser A8. It costs 3,300 euros (without headphones) and simulates acoustic environments such as a 5.1 or 7.1 home theater perfectly. The A8 (the eight stands for the number of freely definable channels) overrides the typical in your head localization - you think you're sitting in a real room and you forget that you're wearing something on your skull. This is made possible by the SVS signal processing method (Smyth Virtual Surround), which virtually breaks the boundaries of rooms. In other words, you can avoid structural restrictions such as bad acoustic conditions and place and experiment with speakers as you would in a real room. Of course, you can also measure real rooms (such as your own home theater) and then save its cherished sound and enjoy the latest blockbuster headphone. Simple stereo operation is also possible. For best results, there are two very sensitive in Ear Microphones included, which are plugged into the ear. Using these microphones, the first basic volume of the individual channels is determined, then the virtual space is measured by the viewing direction to the respective speaker. This is important for the included head-tracking system, which can track head movements. As a result, the sound changes realistically as in movements in a real room. So home cinema is fun even at a late hour, when the rest of the world has long since fallen asleep. The A8 is often offered in combination with electrostatic headphones from Stax and corresponding amplifiers, bringing us to the next point: to different sound transducer headphones.​
  9. Maestroso
    Again, very happy that things appear to move forward. DTS is no deal breaker for me (as I intend to use the A16 mainly for studio purposes), but it would be a nice addition ... if the codec takes another year, I'm fine as long as I can enjoy the PCM capabilities (via USB) in the very near future.
  10. Bill13
    In addition DSP PRIR calibration, I'm looking forward to having the additional A16 optional headphone EQ capabilities - tame those bight recordings, or suit the frequency response to personal hearing/preferences.
  11. Sanctuary
    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but how exactly does decoding work from a player that is sending it to an external audio source after it's decoded? It's sending LPCM correct? What exactly would the A16 be recognizing that as?

    I've primarily relied on bitstreaming. I also have the UDP-203, so if it can decode DTS and send it to the A16, and have it recognized without any issues, then I'm good there.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  12. phoenixdogfan
    Dont know why you couldn't go into the UDP-203's settings and change them to output LPCM instead of bitstreaming. The A16 recognizes LPCM as LPCM afaik
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  13. Sanctuary
    Not what I asked, and I didn't suggest that you couldn't do that. When I said that I had been relying on bitstreaming, I only meant that I simply had the external audio device decode and not the player. I was more concerned with how the A16 interprets the LPCM and if it's going to have the same output as far as channels go. What would it be displaying on the UI, simply "LPCM"?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  14. dsperber
    Well since we don't yet have an A16 to know what might appear on its display, I can't really answer that specific question.

    But the A8 can only accept already-decoded discrete multi-channel LPCM via its HDMI input, which is the precise type of output produced via HDMI from the Oppo players when you set that HDMI output option. The A8 cannot handle "bitstream" input, which is an option the Oppo can also deliver:


    I assume the A16 will work exactly the same as the A8 when you feed it LPCM via HDMI, in that it recognizes the source format as LPCM which would then result in the bypassing all of the A16's built-in internal codec processing intended to support being fed still-encoded "bitstream" via HDMI.
  15. Got the Shakes
    I have the UDP-203 as well and to the best of my knowledge it works like this with internal decoding and outputting LCPM:

    You can have the UDP-203 internally decode up to lossless Dolby True HD or DTS-HD and send it out as lossless LCPM which will keep the correct 7.1 channels. It cannot however decode internally either object based format (Atmos or DTS:X) it can only bitstream those. For the A16 that isn’t an issue with Atmos because they’ll have Dolby certification whenever it ships, but since it won’t ship with DTS certification you won’t be able to bitstream DTS:X and have the A16 decode it.

    Edit: As for what the A16 would display when taking a LCPM signal? Not sure what text it would display, but I assume it would show a standard 5.1 or 7.1 speaker layout on screen like we’ve seen in some shots depending on exactly what the Oppo is decoding and sending it.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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